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Looting The Empty See: The Early Chronology

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Chapter Summary

The strong tradition of spoils that had marked the capital of the Roman Empire had to similarly mark the capital of Christendom. The use of ancient spolia artifacts coincided in the Middle Ages with the Christian's usage of the ancient pagan rhetoric of victory. Liminal violence was imbedded in the "social drama" that unraveled during the episcopal or papal interregna. The most encountered form of violence was sacking, looting and pillaging. Adhering as much as possible to the point of view of the violence's actors, the chapter organizes a chronology. The chapter serves as a topical study of how and when, according to context, a tradition goes through the process of ritualization. The chapter first confronts the various ways the historiography has framed ecclesiastical electoral violence, and then innovates by associating the history of electoral depredation with the history of the church and the evolution of the electoral system.

Keywords: Christian church; empty see looting; liminal violence; papal electoral system; papal interregna; ritual pillaging; Roman Empire; spolia



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    Raiding Saint Peter: Empty Sees, Violence, and the Initiation of the Great Western Schism (1378) — Recommend this title to your library
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